OK, we got ya! Of course Atlanta Braves skipper Brian Snitker deserved consideration for Manager of the Year after his team won 104 games and cruised to another NL East title. The Braves had the best team in baseball until they were upended in the postseason.
But can we get a little narrative love, here? While Marlins' Skip Schumaker and Brewers' (now Cubs') Craig Counsell also did admirable jobs, where's the recognition for Dave Roberts, who led the Los Angeles Dodgers to 100 wins and a division title despite a considerably worse roster and the most injuries in the league?
Looking at what Schumaker and Counsell had to work with, it's obvious they had a much more difficult time than Snitker. And comparing two contending rosters like the Braves and Dodgers, it's clear Roberts had a much more obstacle-filled season to navigate than Snitker, who had the best offense in the league, few injuries, and more than enough big-game pitchers than the average team.
It'd certainly be difficult to keep Snitker out of the conversation because he piloted the literal best team in MLB, but did Counsell really have to be here? He won 92 games in a weak NL Central with the Milwaukee Brewers, who had the undisputed best pitching staff in MLB.
It's obviously tough to navigate and knock somebody off the finalist table, but Roberts hasn't won Manager of the Year since 2016, and over that span has been passed up by Mike Shildt, Don Mattingly, Gabe Kapler and Buck Showalter, all of whom don't have top jobs anymore.
Why is Brian Snitker more deserving of Manager of the Year than Dave Roberts?
The Braves had the most representatives at the 2023 All-Star Game. When all was said and done, they only had one below-average offensive player in their lineup when the season ended (Orlando Arcia, who was an All-Star, finished with a 98 OPS+). Even with a middle-of-the-road pitching staff, how hard could it be to guide an offensive powerhouse that hit 307 home runs, which was 58 more than the next closest team (the Dodgers)?
Best team and best manager are two very different things. And again, this isn't to take anything away from Snitker, who's done a phenomenal job in Atlanta, but Roberts getting snubbed is an all-too-common occurrence. He lost to Showalter last year despite an historic 111-win season. He finished fifth the year before, with the 90-win Shildt and 88-win Snitker ahead of him. He was fifth in 2020 despite, again, the best record in MLB despite the shortened season. Not a finalist in 2019 despite the best record in the NL. Sixth in 2018. Ever since 2017, Roberts has gotten the short end of the stick for reasons unknown.
Yes, the Dodgers are an institution of sorts, so they're always going to be a contender. But that can't always be the case, especially after last season when the entire baseball world wrote them off in favor of the San Diego Padres, who ended up being one of the most disappointing teams in the league while the Dodgers succeeded yet again despite losing Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Trea Turner, Gavin Lux, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urías and others to free agency, injuries or off-field issues.
Maybe at least exclude Counsell, who's been a finalist four times since 2018 compared to Roberts' one.